There are three key things you should consider when selecting a MoVI Operator for your production: Technical Experience, Set Experience, and Value.
I worked for the company that created the MoVI, Freefly Systems when the technology was first introduced as a prototype. I worked with the prototype versions and through every iteration of the technology every step of the way. I traveled all over the US and the world training operators and DP’s how to use the technology. I had access to the MoVI and the engineers that created it for almost a year before it was available for purchase. So quite literally, I have more experience with the MoVI as a professional operator than anyone else in the world.
The MoVI Pro is a complex piece of equipment. Even when set up correctly, it requires a variety of proper tunings for different shooting scenarios. This gets even more complicated when your DP requests using third party equipment, such as pan and tilt control wheels. I not only work with all the different equipment out there for the MoVI eco-system, I have personal relationships with the companies that make them. This means if there are any issues with anything needed to make the MoVI system work, I have a straight connection to the equipment manufacturer and their customer support team.
Part of my job at Freefly Systems was to bring the MoVI prototypes to professional sets, introduce the technology to DP’s, figure out how to integrate the new technology into their workflow, bring their feedback back to Freefly Systems for potential product improvement. Through this process, I not only gained invaluable experience with the technology on set, I also got to learn how to best use the technology to get cinematic shots from some of the best cinematographers in the world. This includes working with DP’s such as Rodrigo Prieto (Wolf Of Wallstreet, Argo), David Tattersall (The Green Mile, Star Wars I – III), Kasper Tuxen (Beginners, The Sea Of Trees), Antonio Riestra ASC (Last Knights, The Bachelors) and many others.
With new technology comes new players, which means there are many MoVI and Ronin operators out there with some gimbal experience and little professional set experience. Getting the shots your production needs is important, but understanding how to work with all the many teams within a production is equally important in order to be efficient and effective on set.
Your production cannot afford to wait around for your MoVI Operator to get things working properly, it needs to work all the time, every time. In the early days of MoVI operating, I constantly heard horror stories from productions about how they tried out the MoVI on a shoot and it was a disaster – the tech wouldn’t work properly or wouldn’t work at all, despite the operator swearing they knew what they were doing. This has never been the case on any job I have ever MoVI operated on. The MoVI technology ALWAYS works EVERY time when I am on set with it. Even in a few rare scenarios where systems outside the MoVI failed and equipment was damaged, I was still able to piece it together and make it work. I know the system inside out and am an expert in MoVI problem solving, when the rare problem does arise.
The bottom line is this – if production is waiting for the MoVI to get up and running, it is costing you thousands of dollars per minute to wait. My operator rate is a fair industry standard rate and while it may be higher than some of the bargain operators you can find out there, it is not worth the risk to select an inexpensive MoVI operator with inadequate experience. While it may be your job to save your production money wherever you can, I can assure you – my rate is similar to all the other professional MoVI operators in the industry. You won’t find a better value than myself or my fellow Motion State MoVI operators.